The lights are on
The second wing of Hearthstone’s Curse of Naxxramas Adventure is now live, featuring six new card unlocks, three new bosses, and two new hero challenges. There’s also Heroic mode for those looking to snag bragging rights and special card backs. Let’s take a look at what cards come with the package and how to tackle the heroic modes, which are a tad harder than the challenges in the Arachnid Quarter.
Duplicate (Mage): This card seems like it will be the cornerstone of secret-based Mage decks once Mad Scientist is available later in Naxxramas. Swarms of cheap battelcry and deathrattle creatures will make this card powerful, despite initial oohs and ahhs revolving around hands packed with multiple copies of Ragnaros.
Loatheb: A solid 5/5 for 5 that can cause massive headaches for spell-oriented decks.
Stoneskin Gargoyle: A frontrunner for a new wave of decks that revolve around minion buffs, once you get this on the table and beef it up a bit it can be a real nightmare for opponents that lack hard removal spells.
Sludge Belcher: I’m a big fan of cards that give you extra value even after they die, so this is a nice addition to the world’s Harvest Golem army.
Unstable Ghoul: Midrange and late game decks that can have difficulty with early game rush will find the Unstable Ghoul a valuable ally.
Webspinner: Randomly getting a King Krush or Starving Buzzard is kind of fun for a one drop beastie, but I’m not sold on its viability just yet.
Noth the Plaguebringer: Don’t bring too many creatures to this fight. Every time one of your creatures dies, Noth gets a 5/5 skeleton. Yep, it’s completely unfair, so turn the tables on Noth by bringing just a few big ones and plenty of removal and tricks. I used a Hunter deck loaded with traps and weapons to take on Noth, getting maximum value out of charging up Eaglehorn Bows and focusing my removal efforts on the minions that blow up the spaces next to them on death. King Krush, which I almost never use in any deck, served as an efficient finisher after the board was clean and things were in my favor.
Heigan the Unclean: Heigan comes out the gate incredibly fast, starting with a 3/4 demon minion on the board that could summon up an infernal on death. Using card and mana ramp, Heigan will overwhelm most defenses quickly with fast efficient threats and a free three damage each turn, not unlike many rushdown Warlock decks. Because standard removal on these demons could just make the problem worse, solutions like silence, Hex, and Polymorph are all better options.
I went with a deck that could take advantage of multiple solutions to the Heigan problem, using a Shaman build that included Earth Shocks, Hexes, plenty of overload spells to help survive and clear the board, and something to put a wrench in Heigan’s hero power – Haunted Creeper. Shove a Haunted Creeper into your leftmost minion slot and that will buy you three turns without having to deal with Heigan’s punishing hero ability. As is the case with most rush decks, if you’re able to stabilize, victory will follow.
Loatheb: This is one of the more interesting heroic encounters that we’ve seen thus far. With 99 life points and 3 damage coming to your hero every single turn (Not even counting the Leper Gnomes and other life removal at Loatheb’s command) this fight can be over before it even starts. Loatheb also starts with a Fen Creeper on the table on turn one, so you better have a plan. As is the case in World of Warcraft, taking advantage of Loatheb’s spores is critical to victory.
I used a Priest deck with every lifegain creature I could pack in there, some Shadow Word: Pains for the gaggle of Fen Creepers , and lots of cheap efficient creatures that could benefit from the spore-slaying and get in for significant damage before board wipes, including small taunters like Shieldbearer. Elven Archer makes for an amazing turn one play and will put you on the path to stabilizing an incredibly uneven game state (Shoot the spore, makes your archer a 9/1 and can trade with the existing Fen).
Once you can get some healing going and some minions on the board, Loatheb falls easily to a swarm of 15 to 30 powered minions after they gobble up some spores. This can be an especially difficult fight to stabilize in with Loatheb’s hero power draining constantly alongside his arsenal of cards, and the Priest’s healing suite seemed to be the perfect counter.
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